Calhoun County

1891 Biography - Clemens Sommer

REV. FATHER CLEMENS SOMMER, pastor of St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Crater Precinct and also of the Roman Catholic Church at Kampsville, is one of the leading clergymen of Calhoun County, whom it is a pleasure to represent in this Album. He is a native of Prussia, born in the province of Westphalia, July 20, 1852. His parents, Anton and Elizabeth Sommer, are deceased. He began his attendance on the public schools of Germany when five years old, continuing it until he had entered his teens when he became a student in the college at Brilon. He spent about two years there, after which followed five years at Paderborn and four years at Munster. This in turn was followed by six months of study in Dublin, Ireland.

Father Sommer was graduated in 1873 and ordained to the priesthood in 1877. The following year he came to America, taking passage at Rotterdam on a steamer and landing at New York after an ocean voyage of seventeen days. He was sent here by the Church to take charge of the parish he is now pastor of and over which he has officiated twelve years. The present beautiful Church of St. Michael's, a view of which is given in this volume, was built in 1881, mainly through the herculean efforts of Father Sommer who was determined that his congregation should have a fitting place in which to worship. The structural beauty of the edifice symbolizes the graces of a Christian character and its tapering spire points the beholder, to the happy home beyond the skies. The building and its contents cost $7,000. The church has a membership of about thirty-five families and that at Kampsville is equally as large.

The career of Father Sommer has been one of unusual success and through his instrumentality Catholicism in northern Calhoun County has prospered as never before. He is of a social, entertaining disposition and his long connection with St. Michael's attests to the favor with which his people regard him as a faithful and kind pastor. While a strict disciplinarian in regard to church matters, Father Sommer is also recognized as a man who entertains broad and liberal views on matters pertaining to politics and State. His deep scholarship and travel have made him a keen judge of human nature and he has many friends outside the pale of his church who wish him well. He is an ardent student and his quiet home and studio at St. Michael's are suggestive of the hours he spends in perusal of the volumes wherein are recorded the thought and research of the scholars of all ages, and the deep study given them.

Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 694-695

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